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'Evan Almighty' director goes batshit insane

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Considering that Hollywood is 90% ego and 10% film making, you aren't going to hear about disagreements, tirades, fights, and pouting in the trade papers very often. Some directors are legendary for being the biggest assholes in the world, even while having extraordinary power, because they get the job done. Some people apparently can't handle the stress, like Tom Shadyac.

I've seen reports in two places over the week that Shadyac totally lost it over how the studio was handling the PR campaign for Evan Almighty, a sequel staring Steve Carell that's based on Bruce Almighty, only these two films share little in common other than premise.

Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston are out, Steve Carell is in. Director Shadyac dumped writers Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe who worked on the first script with Steve Oedekerk in favor of having the latter go it alone. Bruce Almighty cost just $80 million to produce, where the new Evan Almighty is rumored to have cost Universal between $200-250 million, absolutely unprecedented from a comedy. I am shocked Shadyac actually going enough stuff to spend that much money on to begin with. That Universal didn't him and sell his kidneys to pay off a debt the film will never recover, that's even more surprising.

That's all just background noise to what's going on now, though. Shadyac is accusing Universal of skimping on its PR budget as punishment for his inability to manage his own production, and keep its budget sane. I agree, Universal is probably scaling back on advertising, but it's not punishment and Shadyac really left them no choice. You can't spend $250 million on the film and another $50 million on marketing for a comedy. This film is already going to sink, and they know it.

[...] so much so that he had an explosive meltdown at the most recent Universal meeting about it. "He made a fool of himself. He was completely out of control," one insider told me. Said another source: "He was abusive, aggressive and obnoxious. People were really shaken by his huge blow-up. He acted like an asshole and was hurting himself and hurting his movie." Shadyac also fired his long-time marketing consultants Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones

Nikki from Deadline Hollywood makes some good points about the air being flooded with adverts the huge summer pics still to come (Potter 5, Transformers, Die Hard 342) but it's no excuse for this. You don't spend $200 million of a studios money, then throw a temper tantrum in the boardroom, or where ever this happened.

I've got to think that, for the most part, this will blow over and only take a chunk of out Shadyac's reputation in the long if, but only if Evan Almighty brings in the almighty bucks. If it flops, and I don't see how it can't with a disgustingly irresponsible and unnecessary budget like that, this could be the last movie he ever makes.

At least at Universal.

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Apr 27, 2009, 12:18:00 AM
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.